Re: Privately and independently -- how will OVCdealwiththis?

From: Jim Tobias <tobias_at_inclusive_dot_com>
Date: Sun Jun 28 2009 - 14:07:37 CDT

Thanks for your reply, Alan, but you've convinced me that the analogy is
even stronger than I had originally indicated.

Disabled people of course can be and are being assisted in their
transportation by family members and others -- it's part of the hidden cost
of inaccessibility that makes it a market externality like pollution. But
even more to the point, there was/is paratransit -- a system that is
designed only for disabled riders, but which both segregates them and
requires them in most cases to reserve their rides long in advance. For
both reasons this was/is not acceptable to many advocates, so pressure was
placed on public transportation authorities to make their mainstream
services more accessible.

My original point was not about public transportation in general, but about
the need for assistance in using it -- the lifts, wheelchair docking
methods, etc. I was saying that the "acceptable" level of independence had
to do with the functional result -- being able to get on any bus and go
whenever they felt like it -- rather than a step-by-step analysis, where
some of the steps require assistance not offered to or needed by
non-wheelchair-using riders. That disabled community accepted that
"compromise" on the notion of "independence".

In our arena, I would hope that we could convince these communities that we
were committed to improving accessibility wherever we could so that people
with disabilities could go to their polling place and vote, but that there
might have to be compromises of a similar nature. As I said, in other laws
and regulations, the legal phrases in use all refer to some sort of balance
and proportionality.

***
Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
+1.908.907.2387 v/sms
skype jimtobias
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alan Dechert [mailto:dechert@gmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:34 PM
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Privately and independently -- how
> will OVCdealwiththis?
>
> Jim,
>
> I wrote,
>
> >> Even if a machine would allow them to vote privately and
> >> independently at the pollsite, they're just not going to use it
> >> anyway.
> >> Informal studies show that practically no one uses existing
> >> accessible voting machines.
> >
> Then you responded:
>
> > This is exactly what happened with access to public transportation:
> > at first, there was almost no ridership, mostly due to low
> awareness
> > and low expectations on the disability side, and poor training and
> > maintenance on the public transit side. Over the years, as people
> > with disabilities began to experience and expect accessible buses,
> > ridership continues to grow....
> >
> You make a lot of good points, but I don't think this
> particular analogy is valid.
>
> Accessible public transportation can enable a person with
> disabilities to get from point A to point B in a circumstance
> where they simply have no other means. It's not just a
> question of being able to travel with independence. A 15-yr
> old nephew may be able to help Aunt Mathilda mark or read her
> ballot, but the nephew cannot drive Aunt Mathilda across
> town, or anywhere else for that matter. Timing and resources
> are also major considerations with transportation. Aunt
> Mathilda may need to get to a 1:00 pm doctor's appt across town.
>
> In other words, the incentive is much higher to use public
> transportation if available. The ability to utilize it can
> have immediate material benefit to the rider. If a voter
> with disabilities receives satisfactory assistance the her
> ballot at home, the incentive to go to the poll site is zero.
>
> Maybe there isn't much in the way of data, but we need some
> better data. It is unconscionable that the EAC would be
> handing out requirements along these lines without doing some
> research. They should at least conduct some surveys. Maybe
> we could cause them to do a little more research.
>
> Alan
>
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Received on Tue Jun 30 23:17:17 2009

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